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Non-Linear Effects of Soda Taxes on Consumption and Weight Outcomes

February 7, 2014
By Jason M. Fletcher, David E. Frisvold, and Nathan Tefft

University of Wisconsin-Madison Associate Professor of Public Affairs Jason Fletcher, University of Iowa-Iowa City economics professor David E.

tax documents

University of Wisconsin-Madison Associate Professor of Public Affairs Jason Fletcher, University of Iowa-Iowa City economics professor David E. Frisvold, and University of Washington-Seattle health services professor Nathan Tefft study the potential effects of significant excise taxes on consumer populations’ health.

The researchers’ findings suggest that large taxes on soda are ineffective tools for discouraging people from consuming sugary drinks, just like smaller taxes.

“Although the evidence from the literature suggests that current small (and often hidden) taxes on soda do not have detectable impacts on population weight, much less is known about the potential for effects of large, noticeable taxes,” the researchers write. “Our results cast serious doubt on the assumptions that proponents of large soda taxes make on its likely impacts on population weight.”